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For countless generations in both Yorkshire and around the world, security technology has been used around the world to help protect valuable goods and property from those who would wish to compromise it.  The pin-and-tumbler variety of lock has been used as a security measure for more than 4,000 years, while for more than a century the Japanese have been using complicated puzzle boxes to keep valuables and secrets from the clutches of thieves. The paradigms of security technology shifted beyond recognition in the 1940s, however, with the invention of closed-circuit television…

In 1942, the first CCTV system was installed by Siemens with the intention of monitoring the launches of German V2 rockets. Seven years later, George Orwell published his seminal novel Nineteen Eighty Four, in which a dystopian society is monitored day and night by the roving eyes of the Thought Police. In the minds of some, this nightmare world of constant surveillance is one we’re currently living in, as CCTV cameras seem to peer at us from the corner of every building and the ceiling of every shop, while those are just the ones we know about.

CCTV in Leeds

Unlike Orwell’s Oceanian province Airstrip One, modern-day Britain does not use CCTV as a means of prying on the lives of innocent individuals, however. Even the most paranoid cynic must concede that CCTV is an effective security measure in the fight against crime, and that those with nothing to hide subsequently have nothing to fear. It’s hard to argue with statistics, and here at Acclaimed Security we’ve seen crime figures reduced by 80% in some areas thanks to the presence of CCTV alone. Such a significant impact on crime does not go unnoticed, either. Small business contents and property insurance can be extremely costly, particularly if your premises are in an area where crime rates are high. However, the presence of CCTV monitoring on your property can be sufficient to dramatically reduce those premiums and save you money year on year.

The CCTV Conundrum

The observant among you will have noticed the essential flaw with CCTV, however. Video monitoring may be sufficient to deter otherwise innocent individuals from making an uncharacteristic lapse in judgement, but determined thieves and vandals won’t be stopped by cameras alone. Criminals may not be the brightest bunch around, but they know enough to cover their faces in the presence of security surveillance equipment. Those hoodies, baseball caps and motorcycle helmets worn by thieves and vandals around Leeds aren’t just ill-judged fashion statements – criminals know that if their faces are even partially obscured in security CCTV footage then they’re very unlikely to be convicted in court.

The truth is, CCTV isn’t an Orwellian tool used to spy on the innocent and invade your privacy, and neither is it a fool-proof means of stopping thieves and guaranteeing criminal convictions. CCTV is an effective deterrent and can sometimes be used to implicate particularly clueless individuals, but if you want a cast-iron means of preventing theft and nailing the culprits, you’re going to need a considerably more robust security solution.

What’s the most effective security practice?

When it comes to it, modern security technology can only take us so far. Invention and ingenuity can help to develop handy labour-saving devices in many aspects of our lives, but when you really get down to the most important tasks, machines are rarely effective substitutes for trained human beings. Such is the case in the security industry. A security camera is a mild deterrent, but a security guard is a significant one, proven to decrease crime in areas of Leeds that utilise them. Criminals may disguise themselves and attempt to steal or vandalise your property despite the presence of CCTV security cameras, but few will be quite so daring when a security guard is on the scene. We mentioned earlier that a partial CCTV image will rarely be enough to guarantee a criminal conviction, but the testimony of a trained security guard will often prove to be enough to damn a would-be thief, even if he or she was wearing a hood or a cap when the crime was committed.

There is an old adage that states ‘crime doesn’t pay’. While it would be nice to think that the scales of justice will always mete out appropriate punishment to those who flaunt the law, this sadly isn’t always the case. The truth is, crime often does pay, only not if you get caught. Criminals are far less likely to try their hand against your business’ security systems if they think they’ll be punished for their actions, and with a security guard on the premises, the chances that they’ll get caught will be significantly increased. CCTV on its own isn’t enough to keep your property safe – if you want a really sure-fire solution, you need a security guard on site.

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Acclaimed Security Ltd holds SIA approved contractor scheme status for the provision of security guarding services and key holding.

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